Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Reading Round-up

I don't remember a time when I did not love books.  As a kid, my mom would wake me up early for school so I'd have time to read before I got out of bed and then I'd read in the car on the way to school.  I never go anywhere without a book or a magazine as you never know when you'll get stuck waiting somewhere.  I love the feel and smell of books - I will never be a Kindle girl.  I'm not a fan of any particular genre - I read a bit of everything.  I've mentioned before that I pretty much have my own library at home (1300+ books) and, sadly, have only read about 20% of them.  I hoard my books as badly as I hoard my craft supplies!  This year I'm making a concerted effort to combat all the hoarding.  Besides curbing the buying, I'm trying to read more and only allow myself to keep the books that I really love.  

I had decided in January that I'd do a little round-up at the end of each month to tally up what I'd read and make some recommendations.  So much for that.  I'm going to start now though and since I've had a very slow start in the reading department I'm going to do a little catch up this month and then go from there.  (I used to read a lot more books than this but I blame my discovery of so many great crafty blogs for eating into my reading time!)

"A Certain Chemistry" by Mil Millington
      This is chick lit from a guy's perspective and it was disappointing.  I loved Millington's first book ("Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About") and couldn't read it in public because it was so laugh out loud funny.  This one left me cold - mostly, I think, because I couldn't find a single redeeming feature about the lead character.  He was just a complete jerk and I didn't care what happened to him.

"Custer and Crazy Horse" by Stephen E. Ambrose - Recommended
    This had the potential to be a really dry read but Ambrose is a fantastic historical writer and really brings the past alive.  It gave me a whole new perspective on American Indians and the wars the settlers fought with them.

"Honeymoon" & "Lifeguard" by James Patterson
   I took these on our vacation for some light reading but they were too light for me in the end.  Passed some time by the pool but they were not at all satisfying.

"Child 44" by Tom Rob Smith - Recommended  
   I would never have picked this up but my friend at my local bookshop recommended it.  He was dissing on James Patterson and said you could have a light read that was also a decent read.  He was right.  This is a suspense novel set in Russia and was a good story with great twists.

"Remarkable Creatures" by Tracy Chevalier
    I almost didn't buy this since I was so unimpressed with her last book ("Burning Bright") but this is a good read.  When Chevalier gets it right (as she did with "Falling Angels" and "Girl with a Pearl Earring") she creates fabulous historical fiction stories.

"Dogtown" by Stefan Bachtel
    I'd love to visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah one day.  It looks like a pretty amazing place.  I'm a sucker for a dog book and this one compiles a number of stories shown on the National Geographic Channel's Dogtown TV program.  Mostly heartwarming with a bit of heartbreak thrown in.  

"Babylon's Ark" by Lawrence Anthony - Recommended
    This is the true story of a South African man who took it upon himself to go to Iraq after the post-9/11 invasion and try to help save the Baghdad Zoo and the few animals that survived the war.  An amazing story of just how much people can accomplish in the worst of circumstances.

"Lizzie's War" by Tim Farrington - Recommended
   A story that explores the effects of war on an entire family and the perspectives from each side - the husband who is in Vietnam and his wife and children back at home.  

"The Spinster Sisters" by Stacey Ballis
     I have rarely quit on a book in my life.  Even if I thought it was awful I always felt like I had to see it through to the end.  I've decided though that I have too many books to get through to force myself to finish something I'm not enjoying.  So I quit on this one.  I found the characters annoying and the dialogue unrealistic and forced.  When bad writing pulls me out of the story it's time to end it.

"Elsewhere" by Gabrielle Zevin
     I occasionally read young adult novels as there are quite a few very good ones out there.  This one was thought provoking as it dealt with what happens to you after you die.  I think it might bother a lot of people but whether or not I agree with it it's always interesting to explore other people's ideas and at the end of the day - it's only a novel.  :)   

Hope a few of you out there are readers too and I've perhaps sparked your interest in a book or two!  I'm always interested in recommendations so let me know what you're reading these days.  See you at the end of April for the next round up!  

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Working Through the Stash...

On a recent excavation in the Craft Cave I came across some Me & My Big Ideas stickers and whipped up a couple of birthday cards.
Supplies: Cardstock: PTI; Stamp: Hero Arts; Ink: SU Rich Razzleberry; Stickers: Me & My Big Ideas

Supplies: Cardstock: PTI, Bazzill; Stamp: PTI; Ink: SU Not Quite Navy; Nesties: Large Labels; Sticker: Me & My Big Ideas
This second card was inspired by this card at the Papertrey Ink blog.  I didn't use an impression plate but I liked the layers and colours of the card and the little stars on the sticker went perfectly with the rest of it.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Top 5 Tuesday - Ice Cream

Top 5 Ice Creams
1.  Ben & Jerry's Peanut Butter Cup
2.  Maltesers ice cream bar
3.  Wahoo restaurant's caramel gelato
4.  Ben & Jerry's S'Mores
5.  That generic soft serve ice cream - vanilla & chocolate mixed together!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Play Date Cafe Challenge #74

I had a few different ideas for cards for this week's Play Date Cafe challenge but I ended up having to go with the quickest as I got yet another call from work asking me to come in today.  *Sigh*  I have a feeling this may become a regular thing.  Perhaps next Monday I'll turn my phone off...  
Supplies: CB: The Stamp Pad Co; Stamps: Hero Arts, Lawn Fawn; Ink: VersaMark, ColorBox; Lavender & Starry Night Stickles
Back to the card:  I went with a Hero Arts flower and sentiment and a Lawn Fawn banner and sparkled it up a bit with some Stickles.  I think if I were to do another one I might shade in the flower a bit but for now I'm sticking with uber-simple.  :)
On another note, Emily asked me what punch I used for the flowers in yesterday's post.  Both the flower (Pop Flower) and the tag are from Woodware in the UK.  There is a Woodware USA but currently they only carry stamps, peel offs and ink pads.  Hopefully they'll start selling the punches too because not only do they have a huge selection of designs but they are also durable and give a great clean cut.  I don't have the same problems with them as I did with another brand as mentioned here.  

Edited to add:  The stems and leaves from yesterday's were cut from Scenic Route patterned paper.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Moxie Fab World Tuesday Trigger: A Citrus Celebration

The Tuesday Trigger this week at Moxie Fab is a gorgeous, bright picture.  I was inspired by the polka dots and the bright colours.    

My card came out looking a bit red looking in this photo - it's actually a nice bold orange in real life.   
Supplies: CB: The Stamp Pad Co; PP: Scenic Route; Stamp: Elzybells: Inks: Palette Jardin Moss & Orangerie; Punches: Woodware; Twine: Ikandee; Copics: r05 & YG23
 Luis and I are off to our favourite pub for lunch with some friends today.  It's gorgeous and sunny and the pub has just reopened after 4 months so we're going to go welcome it back!  :)  Hope you're all having a lovely day!

Friday, March 25, 2011


This week 2 different sites have challenged us to use a sentiment as the focal point of a card: Sentimental Sunday Challenge #47 - Let's Get Sentimental! and Stamptacular Sunday Challenge #103 - Are You Talking To Me?  I found a bright and happy colour combo at The Colour Throwdown to work with and then went looking for the perfect sentiment.

Supplies: CS: SU Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive, Marina Mist; Stamp: JRL Designs; Ink: Memento Tuxedo black; Other: Woodware Punches,  Circle & Lacey Circle Nesties, Copics, Cuttlebug EF & Diamond Glaze

I thought this quote about happiness would pair well with the bright colours and was also strong enough to stand on it's own.

Must dash as Jem has just trotted by with my pajama bottoms in his mouth!!  Hope your day is happy!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Easter Eggs

Another multi-challenge card today.  The colour palette at Just Us Girls this week is perfect for Easter - lovely soft, spring colours.  I paired the colours with this week's sketch from Waltzingmouse.  I also used PTI's Make It Monday technique of adding colour to non-neutral cardstock.  

Supplies: CS: SU Baja Breeze, So Saffron, Soft Sky, Pink Pirouette, white; Stamps: Elzybells; Ink: SU  Baja Breeze, Memento Tuxedo Black;  Other: PTI die, Making Memories string, Basic Grey & Doodlebug bling, Copics
I stamped the eggs on to SU cardstock and coloured them with Copics.  (Not sure where that egg stamp is from.  Perhaps Doodlebug?).  You can't really see it in the picture but I twisted together pink, blue and yellow embroidery thread for the banner string.

I'm sitting here second guessing myself now and thinking that maybe I should have used coloured card instead of a white card.  Or maybe not.  The white space just doesn't look quite right somehow.  Not quite balanced maybe...  Thoughts?  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mother's Day Mouse

Surprise, surprise.  Guess who missed another challenge?  I really thought I was on the ball this week but I guess the whole Monday thing really threw me off.  *Sigh*  I had intended to enter the 4 Crafty Chicks sketch challenge but it's already closed.  Doh!  However, I also used the colour combo from Inkspirations Challenge #62 and I think I still have a few hours to spare before that one closes on me too!  :)   

Supplies: CS: SU Daffodil Delight, Early Espresso, Whisper White; Stamps: Papercraft Essentials Magazine, Elzybells, Hero Arts; Inks: Memento Tuxedo Black, Regal Rose; Other: Nesties Labels Four, Copics

This cute mouse stamp was a freebie with Papercraft Essentials magazine.  I love his big nose - it was calling out to be coloured pink!  I can't remember where those white flowers came from - WalMart maybe?  I found them in one of my ribbon containers.  Love finding little surprises in the Craft Cave!    

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chipboard Cheer

Just a quick post today as it's been a busy couple of days.  I got called in to work unexpectedly yesterday so didn't have my usual "Monday Time" in the Craft Cave.  I did have a bit of time over the weekend though and put together a few cards using Basic Grey Offbeat papers and chipboard and Cosmo Cricket Tiny Type stickers.  These items are great for whipping up a few quick cards for the ol' card stash.  Have a great evening!

Friday, March 18, 2011

ColourQ #76 & CPS #209

I am determined not to miss the ColourQ deadline this week!  No more blond moments for me.  :)  I've combined the Q colours:  

And here is the result.  
Supplies: Cardstock: SU; Patterned Paper: Basic Grey; Stamp: PTI; Ink: SU Early Espresso; Nestie: Labels 17; Rub-ons: Basic Grey
I recently commented to Lynn about my fear of using rub-ons (only getting half the design to stick, etc).  I should have heeded my fear!  What a disaster!  I'm surprised I had any left to use on the card to be honest.  I somehow managed to get one stuck all over my sentiment stamp and in the process of trying to clean it off I got bits of it stuck all over my fingers.  Those things did not want to come off!  I'm pretty pleased with the final result but it was an epic battle getting those suckers to cooperate with me.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crazy 4 Picture Perfect Trees!

Another multi-challenge card here today.  No sketches - instead a colour combo and a theme.  The colour combo is courtesy of Picture Perfect Creations Challenge #52 and the theme at Crazy 4 Challenges C4C78 is to have a tree somewhere on the card in honour of International Earth Day.  

Eyelets were some of the first crafty goodies I bought 4 years ago (when I started exploring this whole card making lark) and surprise, surprise, they are still sitting in the Craft Cave fighting off dust bunnies and hoping for their moment of glory.  Well today is your lucky day, you little orange eyelets!  Wipe off that dust and come on down - I'm putting you to work!  (Hope it was worth the wait for them)  :)
Supplies: CB: Handy Hippo; Cardstock: SU & Bazzill; Stamps: Hero Arts; Ink: SU Elegant Eggplant & VersaMark; Punch: Martha Stewart; Eyelets: Making Memories; Gems: Basic Grey; Copics: BV08

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


As I mentioned yesterday, I haven't been playing along with many challenges lately.  However, I had a bit of time in the Craft Cave today and decided to tackle a few.  I really would love to do a different card for each challenge but, as always, there aren't enough minutes in the day and I figured I'd combine some.  However, I was still surprised that this card ended up incorporating 4 different challenges!  Here's what we're entering today:

Stamping 411 #194 - Yes, I am again facing down my nemesis again - a sketch!

Color Cue #13

Woodware USA Challenge #18 - Spring Is Coming!

Woodware has so many cute flower stamps and I really like these framed ones.  After working on this card today I have a few more ideas for these stamps.  Must make a note before those ideas float away...
Supplies: Cardstock: Bazzill Basics; Stamps: Woodware USA; Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black; EF: Cuttlebug; Copics: Y08, YG23 & C1

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

4 Crafty Chicks & Inkspirations

I've been making note of a lot of challenges for the last couple of weeks and not actually getting around to creating anything for them.  Part of the reason is I feel like I've been inundated with sketch challenges!  I find that I really struggle with them and tend to avoid them.  Colour and theme challenges are my favourites.  However, I decided to push myself today and combined this week's 4 Crafty Chicks colour challenge with the sketch challenge at Inkspirations.

Here's what I ended up with:   

Cardstock: SU Basic Grey, Pretty in Pink & Concord Crush; Stamp: Fiskars; Ink: VersaMark; Other: Ranger embossing powder, Basic Grey gems, Cuttlebug EF and PTI IP, Diamond Glaze
I'm not much of a pink girl usually (especially a pale pink) but I fought my anti-pink tendencies and went for it!  I embossed the pink cardstock with a Cuttlebug embossing folder, punched out purple circles to fill in some of the dots and then added Diamond Glaze to them.  I also added a DG border around the sentiment.  It's a start but I still have a long way to go with these sketch things.  I find I take them very literally and have to try and relax and let myself play with them a bit.  Guess I'll just have to make more cards to practice...  :)   

Monday, March 14, 2011

Another Missed Challenge

Doh!!!  So I made a few cards for the ColourQ challenge last week and did I remember to post them on the blog?  Of course not.  Talk about blond moments.  They seem to be occurring more and more regularly these days...  *Sigh*  I really loved the colour combo and I know it's too late to enter them now but I thought I'd post them anyway and let them see the light!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hang in There!

My mom's boss recently went on a ski trip and broke her leg - well, shattered her knee is more like it.  The weird thing is, she wasn't skiing when she broke it.  She was just walking along and fell.  Crazy huh?  She was in the hospital in the US for about a week, is now back in Bermuda and wouldn't you know she hobbled back in to work within a day of getting back on the island!  She's a very determined lady.  I just happened to be working on this card and mom snapped it up for her:
Card Blank: Handy Hippo; Card Stock: SU Pear Pizzazz & Tangerine Tango; Stamps: Hero Arts, Lawn Fawn; Inks: Inky Links Choco Loco, Memento Tuxedo Black, Versafine Onyx Black, SU Pear Pizzazz & Tangerine Tango  
I had originally envisaged a smaller bird but then I remembered this Hero Arts stamp set.  I love these birds.  I think they're kind of goofy looking and they make me smile.  :)
My initial inspiration was the paper piecing challenge at Moxie Fab.  However, while I like this card, I don't think the paper piecing is "innovative" enough for the competition so I am off to try and get a little more creative with my paper piecing!  Have a great day!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lawnscaping Challenge #5

I only have a few Lawn Fawn stamps in my collection and wasn't sure if I'd have enough to swing an entry for this week's Lawnscaping challenge.  (You don't have to use Lawn Fawn stamps but working with what little I have makes it more of a challenge!)  The challenge is to use a stamp set in an unconventional way.  Hmmm...  I played around and came up with this:
The smile is from Bannerific, the eyes and nose from Critters in the 'Burbs and the sentiments is made from Harold's ABCs.  Not sure if it's creepy or not.  Looks a bit like a clown face and I know a lot of people find clowns creepy but either way, I had fun putting it together!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tea Pot or Magic Lamp?

Jay Gee's Nook's current challenge is to create a card inspired by the above pictures.  I love that tea pot clock and I'm really digging yellow & turquoise these days.  I pulled out a couple of Stampendous stamps and used one to make my own background design and the other to paper piece the tea pot. 

Supplies: Card Blank: Handy Hippo; Cardstock: Bazzil, Paperbilities; Stamps: Stampendous, Elzybells, PTI; Inks: VersaFine Onyx Black, VersaMark; Die: PTI, Nestabilities
When I put this card together and sat back and looked at it I thought, "Huh.  That tea pot kind of looks like a magic lamp."  Then I told myself I was being silly - magic lamps are longer and sleeker and only my silly brain would see this as a magic lamp.  It's quite an obvious card - when you're sick you have a nice cup of tea!  Skip ahead to later in the day and I'm showing the card to my mom.  She looks perplexed for a moment then says, "Oh I get it.  The genie in the lamp will make you feel better right?"  Guess where I inherited that silly brain from??

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Clean and Simple 130

I have looked at the Clean and Simple sketch every week for months though have never played along with it.  I think it's time to remedy that with this week's challenge.
Supplies: Cardstock: Bazzil; PP: DCWV; Punches: PTI & Woodware; Ribbon: HOTP; Cosmo Cricket Tiny Type
After my photographic confession of my hoarding I decided to use some patterned paper.  I pulled out DCWV's Green Stack papers and they're so pretty with such cute images that you don't need to do much to them.  Since I had the paper out I made a couple of other cards too.
Supplies: Card Blank: Handy Hippo; PP: DCWV; Stamp: Hero Arts; Ink: SU Night of Navy

Supplies: Card Blank: Handy Hippo; PP: DCWV; Stamp: WoodwareUSA; Ink: StazOn Jet Black
 I wasn't sure if there was too much white space at the top of this card.  I considered cutting it down to make it a square.  The more I look at it the more I think that's what I should have done.  Any thoughts?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Off The Wall Craftiness Challenge 48

Off the Wall Craftiness Challenge 48 is another colour challenge with fun springy colours this week.  I've made another fun foam creation.  I really seem to be on a roll with it.  Who knew I had so much of the stuff stashed away?  These flowers were also Dollar Store purchases and I like the dimension you get from layering them.

I promise my next card will not involve any fun foam!  It's time for me to move on from this medium... :)